If you had the opportunity to watch last night’s Hockey Night in Canada (HNIC) game in which the Buffalo Sabres lost a nail-bitter to the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, you would have heard some amazing words of wisdom from hockey’s Father Time, Don Cherry.
UPDATE: Here is the video of his "Coach's Corner" segment.
Say what you want about Don Cherry, his wild clothes and his hyperbolic commentary. Yet love him or hate him, he does come up with pearls of wisdom every once in a while. This, probably, more than his insanely wild clothing, is the reason they keep him around. Let’s face it, the guy knows hockey.
During the first intermission, all decked out in a bizarre mint green suit, dark green beer mug tie, and let’s not forget the leopard stripped mint green furry pimp hat, Don Cherry single-handedly solved the issue with the corner post problem that put Montreal Canadien Max Pacioretty in the hospital and Boston Bruin Zdeno Chara in hot water earlier this week with many NHL fans, and possibly even the Quebec Criminal and Penal Division director.
The answer was so simplistic, who knows if the League will even take it into consideration. First, with the help of the video archival wizards at HNIC, he showed a series of 10 or 12 shots, much like the Pacioretty/Chara hit, that involved the corner post of the bench.
After reviewing theses horrendous hits, Cherry added that there were another dozen or so that they excluded because of time constraints; indirectly pointing out that the League knows that those corners are an issue and for one reason or another may well be ignoring it.
Cherry recommended simply changing the physical design of those corner posts from a 90-degree angle to a simple 45-degree angle. While I am no physics expert, it makes complete sense that the parallel impact of two objects would do much more damage than the ability to slide along a padded 45-degree angled wall.
Now, while this answers the question, it may well cause the arenas to move some of the seating along the glass and take away the visibility and availability of seating along each team bench. Yet, one would hope that due to the incredible benefit for the players that the league would take Cherry’s idea, mint green garb aside, and give it some real thought.
One would think that arena officials across the US and Canada that host NHL games would welcome this physical change and see the value in it for possibly not just for the NHL, but other sporting events as well.
Taking into consideration the recent threat of the Air Canada Centre to dissolve its sponsorship with the NHL if the League did not make advances to better protect players from head-related injuries, this cherry of an idea might be the first step for the League, the NHLPA and even Air Canada to get back into the rink and play nice.